The Future is Here: A New Industrial Revolution opens tomorrow

Exhibition charts rise of digital manufacturing

An exhibition opening tomorrow will chart digital manufacturing’s rise and its impact on how we view the world.

The Design Museum is collaborating with the Technology Strategy Board to showcase the sweeping changes in manufacturing that are transforming the world and some of the new manufacturing techniques that will involve the users of products as never before.

The Future is Here: A New Industrial Revolution will show how the advent of technology like 3D printers mean boundaries between designer, maker and consumer are disappearing with a growing movement of ‘hacktivists’, who share and download digital designs online in order to customise them for new uses.

And the museum will house the first “Factory” of its kind where visitors can discover how 3D printing works and witness live production.

Deyan Sudjic, director of the museum, said: “200 years ago what happened in Lancashire’s cotton mills and Cornwall’s tin mines changed the world. Now it’s the turn of Silicon Roundabout and the hacktivists.”

Mass customisation is a central theme of the exhibition – from trainer manufacturers offering personalised shoes on a global scale, to 3D printed dolls with features that consumers can design and order online.

A carbon loom invented by Lexus to weave car parts such as steering wheels and dashboards from strong carbon fibre is represented, and other exhibits include an open-source approach to architecture, the WikiHouse.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The latest Design Museum exhibition shows how manufacturing and the relationship between designer and customer could change in a very short space of time.

“Our city's future prosperity depends on the ability to stay at the forefront of innovation. With the most creative designers based here and a burgeoning technology sector, London is well-placed to maximise the potential of links between design and technology, which will become increasingly important as we compete on the global stage.”

David Bott, director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board said: “We’re delighted to support this exhibition as both a wonderful showcase for innovative, disruptive technologies, many of which are already having a profound effect on our lives, and as a snapshot of some of the businesses we’ve supported on their journey to commercial success.”

For a video interview with the curator of the exhibition Alex Newson visit the E&T Magazine Facebook page.

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